Winners to star in South African stage version

JOHANNESBURG — South African paybox M-Net is developing a reality show with the Disney Channel based on the Mouse’s “High School Musical” franchise.

“High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa!,” produced by EdenRage Media, will be the first talent search for a local Troy and Gabriella, played by Zac Effron and Vanessa Hudgens in the original TV version.

The winners will star in the South African stage version of “HSM.”

At Thursday’s launch in a Johannesburg high school, M-Net head of local productions Carl Fischer said negotiations between Disney and the feevee had been under way for four months.

“Disney is hoping to use our production as a model for rollout in other countries,” he said.

Fischer added that Disney’s “hands-on” policy with respect to all its properties means it will be closely involved in both the TV series and the stage show.

The competition is open to anyone ages 16-25, and M-Net is approaching 500 schools in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth to find teens interested in trying out. Auditions will take place in June, and 40 young performers will go into the elimination rounds.

Contestants will be assessed by a creative team consisting of a producer, choreographer, a musical director and vocal coach, but a public vote will decide the winners.

Stateside, ABC will air reality show “High School Musical 3: Get in the Picture” this summer. The winners will appear in the musicvideo at the end of the feature “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” which Disney releases Oct. 24.

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